IGN has a new "unfiltered" interview with Bethesda's Todd Howard where he acknowledges the rough start to Fallout 76. Howard admits that the company knew that FO76 was "going to have a lot of bumps", though he attributes the rough patches to "new systems and things like that".
Anytime you're going to do something new like that, you know you're going to have your bumps; you know a lot of people might say, 'That's not the game we want from you.' But we still want to be somebody that's trying new things. That was a very difficult, difficult development on that game to get it where it was. A lot of those difficulties ended up on the screen. We knew, hey look, this is not the type of game that people are used to from us and we're going to get some criticism on it. A lot of that--very well-deserved criticism.
Even from the beginning we understood -- "This is not going to be a high Metacritic game; that's not what this is given what it is."
However, Howard believes that Fallout 76 is a game that will continue to improve over time in a not dissimilar way to Elder Scrolls Online. "It's not how you launch, it's what it becomes." Howard said.
Looking back, Howard believes the game could have benefitted from a longer testing period and that beta testing over "a number of months" would have been a good thing.
Since launch, Bethesda has released a steady stream of patches and content updates that many players acknowledge have gone a long way towards improving the game significantly.